Angel chapter 28
XXVIII. What cannot be spoken
“Linda would have fussed all over the place.” It matters to me even now at age 62 as I write these words that I am still struggling to learn the truth about what Mildred in her illness was doing to me even as she wrote her words. I am learning how to free myself from the power her words still have over me.
When I read “fussed all over the place” the deepest parts of who I am BELIEVE HER! I feel shame. I feel guilt. And as I do I lose any sense of my own reality as if Mother, as long dead as she is, still owns the essence of me.
I hear all of Mother’s words about what a horrible child I was as a cascading torrential tumult of truth. She was big. She was powerful. She was right.
Where am I? Where is my foothold? My perspective? Some deep part of me is grappling with what her psychosis even was. How can I learn to know that nothing Mother ever felt, thought or said about me was TRUE – because it was not real?
How can I free myself from the horror, the death grip, the condemnation of ME – everything about ME – that her sick psychotic mind told her WAS real, that she told others was real, that she told me was real?
There was a tormented man at the hospital where I did my art therapy graduate degree internship who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. I often saw him lunge through midair, fists flying in defense as he fought back against invisible assailants nobody else could see. Mother’s psychosis was equally real. But because her psychosis created a reality centered on me from the time I was born, she made her reality real to me. Her assailant was me.
But I wasn’t invisible! I had a body that occupied space. I was real. How could I know she placed her own invisible demons exactly where I was?
I try a different mental tact. I try to imagine how I would feel in the presence of any sick child. My own children when they were small. My own young grandchild. I would never perceive – never possibly perceive – that anything they said or did was fussing “all over the place!” Why do I believe it about myself? What power had her madness that it still has me?
These words. As I write them. Bring tears to my eyes. I have always been in the face of such a tragedy. I had no other childhood. No mercy shown to me. Such conflict between a mother and child.
Can it ever be retrieved from within? Is there any rescuing? Will what was so broken ever be made right again?
Who do I cry for as I write? What do I still remember? Usually, of course, I do not ever entrance myself with my own reality. I do not come this close to what I know. What my body remembers. Those claws of hers. Inside of me. Clawing away my own rational thoughts.
Thoughts fail me now. There are places inside where only tears reside. They cannot fight back against psychosis. They cannot turn the knob on a different door I can choose to walk through.
Instead I do what I’ve always done. I leave the pain alone. I walk away, but not far enough. Never far enough as my stomach now tightens as tears obliterate my words.
Because there were no words then inside of me to fight back against the words of my mother. A kind of grinding silence overcomes a child’s powers because.
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